The defense organization Human Rights Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused Friday, February 17 the Azerbaijani authorities to conduct "forced relocations" as part of its preparations for the upcoming Eurovision contest, to be held this year in Baku.
For the director of the Europe and Central Asia division of the NGO, "this event is marred by illegal relocations, expropriations and demolitions for hundreds of residents rehoused in a forced manner." Concerned mainly the construction of a modern concert hall on the Place du-National Flag in the center of the Azerbaijani capital. Currently, the last inhabitants of a building overlooking the square finish to be relocated, according to HRW.
Hundreds of people have had to abandon their homes located around this place, under pressure from the municipal authorities, in exchange for compensation as they deem inappropriate. The authorities reject the accusations, arguing that the construction work are not directly related to the Eurovision, but part of a project to improve the urban environment.
The capital of this former Soviet republic in the Caucasus has experienced in recent years a housing boom financed with the oil and gas resources which the country abounds. Projects large selection of flats have been concocted by the authorities and developers. The Azerbaijani duo Ell and Niki won last May the 56th Eurovision Song Contest in Germany. As tradition dictates, Azerbaijan will host the 2012 contest.